Veteran Journalist Bert Wilkinson, Communications Specialist Karen Davis and Executive Member of the Working People’s Alliance, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley all tendered their resignations from the board of the company.
They are protesting a decision by Editor-in-Chief Nigel Williams to fire the two columnists, who wrote articles critical of the government.
Wilkinson, Davis and Sarabo-Halley were opposed to the Editor’s dismissal of columnists Lincoln Lewis and Professor David Hinds, whose hard hitting columns reportedly did not find favour with the government.
Although Williams said his decision was in keeping with a new direction of the newspaper, Board members responsible for setting policy, were taken by surprise when they were advised that the two well-known political columnists were being summarily dismissed.
Williams also fired two other columnists, Sherod Duncan and Leonard Craig. Both are members of the Alliance For Change and Duncan also being a Board member of the Chronicle.
Lincoln Lewis and David Hinds are both supporters of the Coalition government, with Hinds sitting on the Executive of the Working People’s Alliance. However, their columns in many instances openly criticized the government on several of its decisions.
Both Hinds and Lewis believe the decision to remove them as columnists came from the government.
President David Granger on Wednesday however, distanced his administration from the decision to the remove two columnists, but refused to say whether he found some of the writings of Professor David Hinds and Lincoln Lewis irresponsible.
“It’s not for me to say. As I said, I did not appoint them. I don’t know what circumstances governed their relationship with the paper and I am not going to express an opinion on the content,” Granger said when asked whether he had found any of the columnists writings to have been irresponsible.
The president stressed that it was up to the editor to select, choose and decide the course of the publication to ensure that his publication is newsworthy. “I have not interfered. My government has not interfered and I would urge that we continue to- and we do- to support on our part the free flow of ideas; this is guaranteed in the constitution,” he said.
Professor David Hinds, an executive member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), said it was with the acquiescence the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC) that the 'Alliance For Change' a party in the governing coalition had orchestrated their removal as columnists from the paper.
President Granger however made it clear that he was not opposed to criticism. “As a politician, I welcome criticism because this helps me to correct faults and to improve the quality and the performance of the government,” he said.
Granger said he was unaware if there was a contractual relationship with the columnists, if it was broken or whether there was improper action
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